Wednesday, December 8, 2010

If I Got To Dismantle The Fed.Gov

Yesterday, there was a post on The Smallest Minority, along the lines of "What's Wrong With A Little Socialism?", and commenter Jeff C. posted one of those stupid liberal things you see: a list of government programs that they obviously think are just fantastic and challenge you to say you don't want to use them.  (Most liberal philosophy is on the intellectual level of a bumper sticker; this is too long to fit on a bumper sticker, but at that same level).  Like Obama challenging the idea of faith guiding our daily decisions by quoting Leviticus (I think it was...).

But it got me thinking, despite the "tax the rich" crap we've heard so much it sickens us, we know that it's the spending.  We know, thanks to Dr. Hauser, that tax incomes remain around the same as percent of GDP regardless of tax rates - tax rates determine if the economy grows and creates opportunity for more people to improve their standard of living.  We all know that deep cuts in spending from both discretionary and the entitlement budgets have to be cut if we're going to turn this ship around.   So it got me thinking, if I were king of the forest, what would I cut? 

Some of it is easy, and you've heard it all before.  The Department of Education has not educated a single person, and needs to go.  The Department of Energy was founded to help us get independent of foreign oil, and we have become more dependent on foreign oil.  BATFE is a useless black hole of suck, and needs to go.  The tax code needs to go, and the IRS sent home. 

But here's a couple that will surprise you.  I deal with a couple of "big name" agencies that have undeserved good reputations, the FCC and the FAA.  Both of these were useful at some point, but have long outlived it.  The FCC needs to be cut back to a bare bones couple of geeks who help keep services from stepping on each other, maybe monitoring the spectrum to find violators.  Originally, they provided technical direction for the development of radio and television, and helped get broadcasting started.  Now their technical side is routinely stepped on by stupid political hacks with unimaginably stupid ideas like Broadband over Powerlines while the political appointees advance insipid attempts to regulate the content of news and programming, including whether you have the required number of women and minorities.  The FCC probably hasn't done anything useful since the mid 1960s and needs to go.  Upset you saw Janet Jackson's Wardrobe Malfunction?  Complain to the network and the advertisers.  

The FAA is likewise just about useless.  When it comes to the systems that keep airplanes communicating and not flying into each other in mid-air, they leave all the technical decisions to the industry committees who define the systems, and just have you verify you meet the industry standards.  There's no reason we couldn't just report to the industry committees, with minimal changes.  Did you know that the FAA has us certify radios repeatedly, for every different aircraft they might get mounted on, and the cost to put a newer design radio on an old aircraft is so high that airlines just won't do it?  Why have standards-based acceptance if you then have to certify on each aircraft?  Why not just go to the airframe maker and prove you work on their plane?  It's needless duplication of efforts. 

NASA needs to go.  This pains me for many reasons.  I grew up in the Mercury/Gemini/Apollo days and idolized them.  I've worked on a NASA satellite, for the JPL, with people who put satellites out at Jupiter.  But events this year have proven that they lost their recipe sometime long ago.  Then, of course, there's this abomination.  Buh-bye.

And don't get me started on the government takeover of student loans.  Or Amtrack.  I could do weeks on this topic.

3 comments:

leveraction said...

I agree 100% with this. All the blather about tax cuts and unemployment benefits sounds like budget-balancing but its really just more ways to pass the burden back onto "we the people" in the name of "cutting .gov spending." If you're going to cut .gov spending then you've got to cut the .gov itself first. Then, once you've cut all the agencies and associated fluff you can, you start looking at phasing out the entitlement state. Actually, I think if they started that way by the time the time comes to wean off the welfare state it wouldn't be that difficult because the economic situation would be improved the the point where most, if not all, of the non-leeches would no longer be dependent on the safety-nets anyway.

Of course that makes way to much sense. And it would cut the scope, size, and reach of the .gov so the politicos would never go for it. The .gov will never shrink itself voluntarily, history has shown that over and over. Maybe that's why pols seem to loose all common sense once they land the job...

leveraction said...

Wow, I should start proofreading better:

"...situation would be improved the the point..." should read "...situation would be improved TO the point..."

-and-

"...pols seem to loose all common sense..." should be "...pols seem to LOSE all common sense..."

And I has a good quality government education!

Graybeard said...

It's well known there's a gremlin who inhabits this blog and changes what you wrote after you hit the "post" key, introducing a few random typos, or wrong-word-os. Little bugger does it to me all the time.

To your point, I keep hearing talking heads on TV and radio saying, "those Tea Party people talk about cutting government, but they never want to cut their own favorite programs". I don't think it's honest criticism -- everyone I've met is quite up front about knowing their favorite programs have to get cut, too. But if they care enough about the truth to listen, a good place to start is to point out what you think needs to go. Like you say, you have to cut the size of the government. Send something like 50% of the workforce packing.

Remember back in the '90s when we had the government shutdowns and they sent non-essential workers home? Sorry government workers, you're just not essential.